These 4 hospitality skills will help land any job
Whether you're forward-facing and interacting with customers or working behind the scenes, be sure to highlight these four skills if you want to get noticed, promoted, or hired.
Hospitality extends through a wide variety of industries but is typically associated with the food services, tourism, and conference career paths. While there are certain niche skillsets that you may need for specific jobs, there are a few universally required traits that almost everyone needs to succeed in the field of hospitality.
1. Creative Problem Solving
The hospitality industry is based on the concept that the customer is always right, which means many employees have to come up with creative solutions that will appease the customer while helping the company. For example, a cook might need to change how he or she stores food to cater to gluten-free customers. House managers often comp parts of a meal if a customer is unhappy to increase the likelihood that they will leave satisfied.
When problems arise, there typically isn't a lot of time to test multiple solutions and run them past management. In this case, creative problem solving can help hospitality employees think on their feet and keep customers happy. Oftentimes this skill comes from experience and changes depending on the location. What might be an acceptable solution in one restaurant or bar would not be allowed in a different one?
2. Customer Service
Some hospitality professionals sign up for additional customer service training to make sure they're able to create a welcoming environment for the people they interact with every day. These seminars — either online or physically — can teach valuable customer service tactics, including:
- Listening to the customer and repeating their concerns back to them so they feel heard.
- Reducing tense situations between customers and staff and creating a positive energy.
- Empathizing with the customer about their concerns and positively suggesting solutions.
- Patiently waiting for a customer to express themselves, even when you're facing a busy house.
These are just four examples of great service that can take a bad situation and turn it into an opportunity to show how well your company takes care of customers. Hospitality workers who have these skills typically have a higher chance of getting hired, as managers know that they can trust the employees to handle problems on their own.
Hospitality employees often rely on teams to get through shifts and keep customers happy. Waiters and other serving workers help each other by picking up tables when one section is busy, helping each other deliver food or bus spaces, and solving problems for customers to keep them happy.
When hospitality workers can't (or won't) work as a team, they risk creating a toxic work environment that leads to higher turnover rates and increased disagreements. This also increases the costs of companies who need to spend time and money rehiring. In the same way that hospitality workers have to be professional with customers, they also have to be professional with each other.
4. Food Safety
Food safety extends well beyond restaurants and bars. For example, some hotels offer free breakfast, food for conferences, and complimentary cookies and coffee in the lobby. Even hair salons and spas offer chocolate, wine, and even champagne to their guests. Anytime food is served to a customer, there's a risk of an allergic reaction or food poisoning. This is why any company in the hospitality industry should be familiar with basic food safety standards so it can keep customers safe and prevent violations from the health inspector.
Along with avoiding fines for improperly storing food and keeping food prep areas clean, hospitality workers also need to follow food safety guidelines to keep the company in business and attract customers. If a restaurant or bar has a reputation for being dirty or serving unsafe food, then sales will drop and the company will risk going out of business. Typically, restaurants fail at a rate of 50-60 percent per year, but maintaining a clean and safe experience is an easy way to keep customers coming back.
Many of the skills used in the hospitality industry come from on-the-job experience, but it is possible to increase your knowledge through training programs and classes. By proving your skills, you could show that you're not just fit to work in the hospitality industry but fit to manage teams as well.